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Last Updated on February 11, 2020

How to Learn to Be Alone and Happy About It

How to Learn to Be Alone and Happy About It

Consider yourself lucky if you can balance being social and spending time by yourself. After all, your parents didn’t intentionally raise you to be a loner, learn to be alone, or take time for you.

If anything, you learned various social skills for your relationships. There may be days when you decide to not answer a text, respond to a phone call and snuggle with your dog on the couch to binge-watch Netflix.

Choosing to retreat gives your friends the impression that you are anti-social, which can bring pressures and difficulties.

In these moments, you learn to be alone.

However, it is harder to learn to be alone in the midst of people you’re supposed to interact with daily. In the mind’s of people, it is the norm for everyone to be socially active; seeking to reach out for various reasons.

When you learn to be alone and be happy about it, another layer of self-care and self-improvement evolves.

You open yourself to better understand new aspects of who you are, which in turn strengthens your relationships.

In reality, adulting comes with tons of responsibilities, constant break-up’s, friendship losses, and social misunderstandings–all of which can be draining.

You can begin to strategize how you will learn to be alone, be happy about it, and keep amazing relationships going without losing unnecessary energy.

Research shows that only 16% of the 82 million Gen Xers in the U.S. have no friends.[1] This doesn’t mean they are loners or uninterested in interacting. These individuals just enjoy time alone every once in a while.

    To learn to be alone is a healthy choice. So, when you do find yourself without company at any time, you won’t view it as a terrible fate, but as moments worth spending time with yourself.

    Is It Healthy To Be Alone?

    Spending quality time with yourself helps you enhance your psychological development, and experience.

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    On the flip side, excessively spending time alone can negatively impact your mental and physical health.

    It would keep you at the mercy of your inner critics, lead to depression, painful loneliness, and can ultimately lead to the deterioration of your health.

    Consequently, you pretty much have to strike a balance between the two extremes. That said, these are the health benefits of being alone.

    Spending Time Alone with Yourself Increases Productivity.

    How quickly do you get a job done when you have family and friends chatting away around you?

    Your goal may be to complete things around the house, run errands, finish a school assignment, or meet a deadline for work. Even a ping from your phone when a chat or mail comes in can make you lose concentration on a task.

    The brain is naturally programmed to be more productive when there are little to no distractions. So, if you desire to be more productive, spend time alone.

      It Fosters Better Relationships With Others.

      Being an extrovert is amazing. However, sometimes being an introvert is good, too.

      Research has it that introverts are more in touch with themselves, better express self-awareness and empathy. This makes it possible for them to understand individuals around them and better manage relationships.

      What’s more, studies show that relationships thrive when the individuals involved can take a step back and keep a level of independence. When they do reunite, the spark is incredibly amazing and refreshing.

      It Allows You To Revitalize Your Mind.

      Being the life of occasions and mingling with friends can be fun, and can help with some aspects of brain activity.

      However, what happens when your brain begins to lose creativity or, starts to yearn for some break away from the hype and action of your social life?

      In such times, being alone would be healthy. Spending some time alone with yourself helps your mind to process previous activities, unwind, and recharge.

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      Additionally, when your brain is relaxed, a lot of things would begin to make sense and come together beautifully.

      It Boosts Your Creativity.

      The mind comes up with the best ideas when it is left alone in perfect solitude. It generates amazing plans, weighs the pros against the cons, and just creates beautiful creative stories.

      So, when you feel the pressure to be creative, and you can’t deal with the noise of brainstorming, you can simply separate yourself from the crowd, and give your mind some time to think and come up with a great idea.

      10 Ways to Learn to Be Alone and Happy

      Here are some steps you can take to learn to be alone and be happy about it.

      1. Be Your Primary Source of Validation

      Having friends and family call and show you major attention sure feels great. However, what happens when they are caught up with other things and don’t have that much time to text or call?

      In such times, getting disappointed about not being contacted won’t help you, and sure would tell that you are far from being your source of validation.

      So, what you can do is to deliberately train yourself to get used to the absence of people.

      Take some time off from the noise of social life, and indulge in your hobbies like reading, writing, or seeing some great movies on Netflix.

      What’s more, you can try meditating or yoga. This would clear your mind, and keep you in tune with yourself.

      2. Learn to Feel And Be Self-Aware

      So, first off, you can take a person out of psychology, but you can’t take psychology out of a person. This means that the person that can reach into your emotions, and channel those emotions so you can be happy, alone and single, is you.

      Learn to spend time with yourself, practice self-awareness, and keep in touch with your feelings. That way, you will truly be happy. Identify your goals, dreams, and setbacks. Know the things that make you tick, and do those things.

      3. Spend Some Time with Nature

      There’s nothing quite as soothing as bonding with nature. You can simply spend time in a garden, where you can watch the flowers bloom with your favorite book in hand.

      Or you can listen to the chirping of the birds, lie under the skies, and watch the shapes of the clouds and the brightness of the stars, and fall in love with yourself all over again.

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      If you have some energy and stamina in you, and you are a lover of outdoor activities like hiking, then put on those hiking boots, grab your backpack, and head to the nearest mountain around you.

      4. Work on Your Self-Improvement

      Remember those amazing self-improvement things that you have on your bucket list, but have somehow managed to miss doing them?

      Bring those goals into actualization. You can create some alone time and work on them.

      Learn to play that musical equipment, author that book, strategize on how you will start that company, learn a new skill, or a new language.

      Just improve yourself: 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

      5. Deliberately Ease into the Pleasure of Relaxation

      The moment you go for a massage, treat yourself to a bubble bath with red wine in hand or stay home to watch Netflix with popcorn.

      Then you will begin to love spending time by yourself. The cares of the world would be non-existent for that duration.

      6. Take a Trip to a Dream Location Alone

      You might ask yourself where the fun is in traveling alone. Be that as it may if you can get beyond the feeling of weirdness that accompanies taking a trip by yourself, just do it.

      Just pack up your bags, and visit that location that you heard is a tourist attraction, or simply go for a weekend getaway in an amazing resort.

      Then in no time, you will begin to feel the hang of being alone and happy.

      7. Step Out to Town Alone

      Perhaps you thought that to learn to be alone means camping at home and shutting the world out. However, that’s not the case.

      You can indeed have beautiful time with yourself by going out to town to do activities like reading in a park, grabbing a coffee, and going to the seaside where you can feel the wind on your face, watch the sea waves come and go, and just gather your thoughts.

      8. Stay Away from Your Phone

      If you’re going to learn to be alone, then you might as well go all the way. This would mean staying away from your phone and the distractions that come with it.

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      When the phone is out of the way, you can do whatever you desire, such as snack away on whatever you crave for, or jam to your best music.

      9. Feel Free to Be Weird

      Okay, you might think that you’re an adult, so you just can’t go about being weird.

      In truth, who cares? Being grown does not stop you from playing your favorite song at home and dancing to it in your underwear, or bingeing on your favorite ice-cream or meal.

      Nothing stops you from doing crazy activities like sky diving, that will send some adrenaline shooting through your body.

      And nothing stops you from participating in karaoke, even when you don’t have a voice worthy of applause. The main thing is to be weird and to own your weirdness.

        10. Guiltlessly Make Mistakes, And Own Them

        At this point in your life, you should understand that making mistakes is part of the cycle of life.

        I’m not saying that you should go about being the king or queen of errors. Rather, you should not beat up yourself when you unknowingly make a wrong move or a wrong decision.

        In essence, own your mistakes, learn from them, and move on feeling better, and stronger.

        Final Thoughts

        Finally, the one thing you should convince yourself of is that, it is normal for you to live your life the way you have chosen.

        There is no need trying to convince anyone that what you are doing is in the right interest of you. There is no need working yourself up to prove to anyone that choosing to learn to be alone is right for you.

        You have decided to be happy and have found the best way to be healthy.

        Instead of getting heartaches from your relationships, you have decided to sideline yourself and you are doing just fine.

        Laugh. Live. Be happy alone. You’ll soon discover that this is the greatest decision ever.

        More About Being Alone and Happy

        Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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        Jacqueline T. Hill

        Writing, Blogging, and Educating To Guide Others Into Happiness

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

        Posture

        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

        Facial Expressions

        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

        2. Relax Your Face

        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

        3. Smile More

        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

        4. Hand Gestures

        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

        5. Enhance Your Handshake

        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

        Final Takeaways

        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

        Reference

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